Monday, September 7, 2015

Language police...

One year ago today, I wrote a rant here on this blog about "fork language".  It sounds a little suggestive, but "fork language" is an impromptu term someone in the local Facebook group came up with to describe how she lets servers in restaurants know she's finished eating.  We were having a good discussion about "fork language" when some uppity bitch from the community snottily informed us that she doesn't use "fork language", she uses "proper table etiquette".

And I'm thinking to myself...  Geez, woman, you are a megatwat!  How about relaxing your sphincter a little?

This kind of shit went on for about a year.  I found myself more and more annoyed by it and unable to stand it.  I didn't quite make it a year before I had to drop out of most of the local Facebook groups because I found that way too many people got under my skin.  And, conversely, it seemed like I got under too many other peoples' skins.

Despite growing up in a military community with a military dad and marrying a military husband, I find it hard to be a joiner in this community.  I know I'm not the only one, though.  A lot of people find the military community grating.

In a way, this is sort of a fascinating phenomenon.  If you think about it, the military is made up of a whole lot of Americans from different walks of life who, upon joining the community, are forced to dress the same and follow a lot of rules.  People in the military marry people from all walks of life, some of whom are able to embrace and thrive in the military lifestyle and community and others who find it highly irritating.  A lot of people are rule followers.  A lot of people are rule breakers.  But when you are in the military community, you may find yourself having to interact more with people you might be able to avoid out in the world at large.

Bill and I spent almost four years living at Fort Belvoir, which really gave me a dose of the hyper military experience.  I had lived in base housing at Mildenhall Air Force Base in England when I was very young, but my dad retired when I was a small child.  I grew up the daughter of a retiree.  Being an Army wife for almost twelve of the almost thirteen years I've been married gave me a different perspective.  But living at Fort Belvoir didn't seem nearly as intense to me as interacting with some of these folks on Facebook.  Strange, huh?

Maybe it's because I lived at Belvoir before Facebook was a big thing.  And I could shut myself in my house if people got on my nerves too much.  With Facebook, yes, there are things you can do to cut out annoying people.  The "block" function works well.  But if these people still interact within your groups, you end up seeing references to them and missing parts of conversations.  It's a little awkward.  I don't like blocking people unless they are really irritating.  It usually takes awhile before I resort to doing that.

In the meantime, because Facebook is my life, I end up interacting with twits... some of whom must think I am also a twit.  I get worked up and have to vent, so I write blog posts... which I am sure must make people think I need to get a life.  I certainly don't dispute that.  I'm working on it.

I probably have no room to rant about this topic, though.  This morning, someone posted this and it ended up on my feed.


I must admit, the former English major in me died a little reading this...

I will admit, I got a bit uppity about it myself.  Then, my Italian friend vicfar quipped, "They don't thank him because he's illiterate."  In my case, vicfar is probably correct.  I noticed the person who created this little work of Facebook art also refers to himself as "Blujay Gohard".  In that case, I think his problems stem less from rude women and more from his confusion about his own sex appeal or lack thereof.

Have you noticed that there are all kinds of people out there in the world who want to tell you what you can or cannot say?  Another Facebook friend wrote a post about the migrants coming from Syria, Afghanistan, and Eritrea and implored his "peeps" not to refer to them as migrants or refugees.  He apparently thinks that the term "homeless people" is less offensive.  Really?  I must admit, it never occurred to me that someone-- especially a privileged white American male who owns his own business-- would think he should decide for everyone else what words are or are not "dehumanizing".  He claims that calling people fleeing war torn countries "migrants" or "refugees" is dehumanizing to them.  I want to ask him how he knows that?

I don't know about you, but I think if I were a person running for my life with my children and whatever clothes I had on my back, the last thing I would give a shit about is if someone referred to me as a "migrant", "refugee", or "homeless person".  To be honest, of the three terms, I think "migrant" is potentially the least offensive.

According to dictionary.com, the word "migrant" refers to a person or animal that moves from one region, place, or country to another.  I think that sums up what these folks are doing quite nicely and without any offense.

"Refugee" is perhaps a little less neutral.  A refugee is someone seeking protection.  Refugees flee their homelands to seek shelter in times of upheaval or war.  But still, what is offensive about that?  Isn't it the truth?  Wouldn't you do the same thing if you were unfortunate enough to be living in a war torn country with an oppressive regime in power?  How is that dehumanizing?

"Homeless person" refers to a human being who, for whatever reason, doesn't have a physical home (because most of us do have a "home" in terms of where we came from, right?).  Okay... so you acknowledge that the homeless are people and that's good.  But how is that any less dehumanizing or offensive than the terms "migrant" or "refugee"?  Frankly, I might have much more empathy for those who have fled their homelands than I might for certain homeless people.

Anyway... just thought I'd opine.  I notice that a year ago, we turned on the heat on Labor Day.  We did this year, too.  It's amazing how quickly fall arrives in Germany.  I'm glad it's here.

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